Sunday, July 5, 2020

HOUSTON FIREWORKS 2020

Fireworks visible from the apartment.

The city still went on with it's annual large fireworks display but did not allow anyone to watch in crowds in person.  So most people who drove there just stopped in random spots to park and watch.

We had it on TV of course but then realized that the spot where it was done this year put it just on the other side of these buildings downtown, partially visible to us. 

(as always click to enlarge any of them)


If only some were just a little bit higher!


Like these!  Really pretty!


How about hot pink!


This one was really pretty, another one was higher up that I didn't capture but this was the second one that was obviously a bit lower altitude.


Blue!


This one was an interesting assortment of colors, kind of an aqua green and pink and red.  It was almost like a Christmas time firework, ha.  


I like these that are like flares, they don't do anything other than shoot up like this but with super bright colors.  Different than the others, fun to see.


Red!


And last but not least, these are just always SO incredible to see.  Love the size.  Always so impressive, simple but dramatic.

Hope everyone had a good 4th of July and all are staying safe!

Saturday, July 4, 2020

4TH OF JULY 2020

Vintage postcard image via wikicommons.com
Hope you are having a good weekend.  Went to the farm yesterday, watered, checked on things but without the Zen Machine, I just wasn't inspired to work in the yard for anything. Oh and it felt like 147 degrees so there's that...

Today (and tomorrow) we're just staying in and relaxing.  We have bbq ribs on the menu (a post on that will be upcoming) and being in quarantine we will be watching a lot of television.  


NASCAR racing is on the schedule (I think there's some Indy car action too) and then of course we have to stream...


...Hamilton on DisneyPlus because, well, everyone will be doing the same thing, ha.  

Stay inside and stay safe!

Friday, July 3, 2020

FRIDAY

Today at work is the observed holiday for the 4th of July so I'm off and heading to the farm to check on things.  Not much I can do as the Zen Machine is still in the shop but will be ready Tuesday/Wednesday.  


Speaking of, we got the invoice, it wasn't bad.  A little more than we would have liked but better than we feared, sort of in between, ha.  Certainly good to know it's being repaired but since it won't be finished this weekend I'm heading to the farm today.



With the city back to virtual lockdown and now a statewide order for mask wearing of EVERYONE out in public, there is not much I'd like to do "out".  I DO have to stop at the store, those staples we run out of like milk and eggs.  I'll mask up, glove up, and we even have lucite face shields.  I don't care if I look silly, we don't need to get sick from this.

Hope you all are having a good day (as is possible in these crazy times).  More of an update later.


Thursday, July 2, 2020

ONION CURING TABLE INSPIRATION THURSDAY


Every Thursday we like to post a picture of something we've found online that inspires us to do something similar at the farm. Sort of our own blog bulletin board so that we can eventually look back and someday, hopefully anyway, recreate it...enjoy!

Onion curing rack/table, image via wikicommons.com
Not sure what I'm more inspired to do from this photo, grow onions or have a drying rack/table for them just like this, ha.  Maybe it's a combination of both.  We've had great success (finally) with growing garlic.  This could be easily used for them as well.  This is a simple project for sure.

We didn't plant garlic to harvest for this year because we had so much from last year that we're just finishing up using but I think I'm getting the bug to do it again.  Planting time here is November-ish.  I guess in a way this did inspire us...to do garlic again!  We dried our garlic by hanging in the barn but something like a small scale version of this could even work inside the barn. 

Be inspired...

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

SAUSAGE IN CRESCENT ROLLS QUARANTINE COOKING

During the lockdown/quarantine, we are going to post some food/meals we are eating.  Usually there will be no recipe, what we want to post is just a reminder that simple is good, simple is comfort and during these times, we can all use a little (or a lot) of that.


OK so this is pure comfort food (with a bit of processed food thrown in for good measure, ha).  2nd Man and I make a great homemade mac and cheese.  It's very good but takes some work.  When the pandemic started and I was filling up the pantry, I grabbed 5 or 6 boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese.  It's childhood in a box and certainly easier without going back to the store for more cheese and other ingredients.  Anyway, we made a batch of that, super easy.

I had also stocked us up on sausage, a great quick ingredient when you need a meat.  In this case it's a wonderful beef brisket sausage from HEB grocery store.   The only other thing we needed was a package of Pillsbury crescent roll "Grands".


We cut the sausage into smaller pieces (by the way this is fully cooked sausage, just really needs to heat up and get hot and release the juices).  Then we rolled out the crescent rolls.  My job was to roll them around each piece of sausage. 
 

I kinda made a mess of that, don't judge, LOL.
I got better with practice though.


See? The ones on the other end of the sheet pan look much better, ha. We baked them according to the package directions and then added a couple of minutes to get the a bit more golden. Your time may vary.


When they were done we just dished it up.  Yeah, no veggies but sometimes you just want something filling and warm and that reminds you of childhood.



Monday, June 29, 2020

ZEN MACHINE GARDEN CHICKENS AND LOCKDOWN


The grass is greener but it hasn't grown too much...yet anyway.  Last week we had about 3 inches of rain and the ground was still pretty wet.  Luckily there wasn't much standing water as the ground and trees soaked it all up.  Next weekend the grass should be ready to mow.  But...


...we had to schedule the Zen Machine to be picked up.  Since there was no rain in the forecast Sunday and Monday, I took it out of the shed and left it here for them to pick up.  In fact, as this posts, it should be on its way to the shop.

You may have seen last weekend, one of the pulleys came off and the drive belt went sideways and started burning.  We watched some videos on replacing that belt and it was a bit more complicated than I could handle right now.  Ordering parts, waiting for them to come in, hoping I could get it right the first time, then if I needed to go in, they are closed to walk ins due to the pandemic...all the while needing it ready for mowing as soon as possible.

Just too much uncertainty.  We have an emergency expense fund just for things like this.  Let's hope it's at least reasonable.


Yes, this is a picture from last weekend but as a reminder, this is what we were getting on the tomatoes.  Birds.  When I was out there Saturday some of the green tomatoes had small pecks on them (guess they don't like green tomatoes) so I decided to take care of that.  I forgot to get a picture but what I did was use the freeze cloth covers to create a tent over the tomato bed.  I put some extra support trellises and used clips to secure it.  

We'll see how THAT works.  


I watered the plants on the porch and since there was nothing else to do, came back into town.  I masked and gloved up and went into a store and picked up some whole chickens and some salad greens.  Our philosophy on roasting chickens is that if we're going to heat up the oven to roast one, why not do two and save the meat for later?  

So that's what we did.  Sometimes we change up seasoning or maybe stuff some herbs inside but this time we went old school.  Butter, salt and pepper.  That's it.  They came out perfect!

We ate one over the course of Saturday evening and Sunday then I took all the meat off the other one and vacuum sealed it for the freezer.

Future meal, ready to go!


We've both been craving a salad and so with the chicken we had a nice mixed greens salad, some boiled eggs (is that weird with chicken? LOL) and 2nd Man made a wonderful vinaigarette with honey, dijon, oil, and some minced herbs.  OMG it was SO good.  We forgot being in quarantine meant not a lot of fresh salad greens.  It's amazing the things you miss.

Send good thoughts that the Zen Machine is not outrageously expensive, ugh.  We're starting our first week back in lockdown, it should be interesting.  We're ready, stocked and prepared once again so we'll just obey the rules and hope for the best. 



Sunday, June 28, 2020

BACK TO STAY AT HOME AND A LAZY DAY

We are back to the way it was...


I was back to working in the office for a couple of weeks but as things have started to spiral out of control here in Houston, we went back to working from home.  Then, Friday afternoon, all phones in Houston received the emergency push alert posted above.

We're back to stay at home except for essential activities.  All businesses are now requiring customers to wear masks but as the virus ravages across Houston and hospitals reach 100% capacity, it's best not to leave unless you have to.  For the last couple of weeks, I restocked our food supply (and toilet paper/paper towels, ha) and that's good.


We're ready to hunker down for another couple of months if necessary. 


Today has been a lazy day...as referenced by this picture of Hobart, laying on his side, covered with a blanket...yeah, he's not spoiled and yeah it IS that kind of a day, ha.  

Yesterday I went to the farm alone, not much to do with the mower down and all the standing rainwater.  More of an update tomorrow...

Friday, June 26, 2020

WINE CRATE BOX TRASH TO TREASURE

Regular readers know that I have a favorite place to look for bargains...our downstairs trash area!  Our building has trash chutes on every floor and they feed into a separate room, but for boxes and other things that people can't put in the chute, there is an area (indoor) near the loading dock where people can put the things they don't want.  

I've found several cool items over the last couple of years.  Here is one of the latest!*

*pre-quarantine


It's a wine crate.  And that's about all we know, ha.  There was no lid, I looked for it.  Oh well.


Still though, it is a nice and solid wooden box.  It's surprising how thick the wood is, though given the original contents (expensive bottles of wine) I'm guessing that makes sense.

We can always use a good box for something. With the "wine" name on the front, it might be cool in a bar area or the kitchen.  Time will tell.


We are in a weird weather pattern, clear then heavy rains and storms, then clear, then heavy rains and storms, lather, rinse, repeat.  Not sure what this weekend will hold.  But at least it's Friday...

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

LIGHTNING IN HOUSTON

We had a crazy storm in Houston.  Lots of lightning.  And that's my new thing to try to capture with the camera.  You have to take about 500 photos in a row with the shutter speed set to almost continuous in order to capture it but then when you do, it's like, well, lightning in a bottle...er, camera.


The sky would open up with a glow that told us lightning was about to be generated...either that or the alien mothership and the way 2020 is going...LOL...


In this case it came out from the opening and radiated across the sky.  Super bright at first...


...and then it just gets less bright and disappears.  All in the span of a couple seconds at most.


This one hit the ground somewhere "over there". I always wonder where a bolt like this strikes in that instant. A tree? A telephone pole? A house or building?

As this posts, we are under another flash flood watch and severe thunderstorm watch.  It's going to be one of those weeks.  Hoping I can get some more pictures.  In another life, I might have been a storm chaser.  It's just so fascinating seeing big storms rolling across the sky.


That could come from growing up and spending Summers with my grandparents in Oklahoma where my Grandfather would stand outside and watch a storm in the distance as it grew and moved our direction.  He'd talk about how he didn't like the looks of this cloud or that storm, how we might have hail, heavy rain, or even a funnel cloud...he was a patio weatherman, ha. 

Monday, June 22, 2020

SUNNY AND STORMY WITH VEGGIE AND MOWER PROBLEMS

Saturday we ventured to the farm.


The sky looked like this when we arrived.  Cloudy and sunny but a quick check of the radar showed big storms were coming.


I checked the fruit trees and all is still looking good and no deer bothering the trees.  So far so good.  This is the other fruit tree and it's starting to bloom.  I need to see with this variety when the normal bloom time is.


As for the garden there is good and bad.  Above is the good.  Look at that beautiful squash just waiting to be picked.  There are two more on there (further behind) but we harvested this one.  It's waiting in a basket in the kitchen for 2nd Man to figure out something to do with one squash, ha.


Here is one of the tomatoes.  I had to pull it.  What kind of damage does this look like?  It was up high, not down low so we're thinking birds?  I need to get some bird netting and draped over the tomato plants.

I did get to mow, the usual time and distance, more or less.  But we did have a problem with the Zen Machine...


The nut broke off and the belt came off.  Ugh.  I started smelling burning rubber and a cloud of white smoke behind me.  Thankfully it happened literally at the last moment of mowing.  I was as done as I could be and was mowing over the grass clippings to disperse them a bit when it happened.  So I turned off the blades and drove to the shed.  I'm not sure how to fix this as I have never replaced a drive belt like this but I'm guessing it might not be too difficult, need to check out some youtube videos and see what can be done.  With our weather this week, this coming weekend would be out for mowing so I'll see what I can do.  The dealer does have mobile service so that's always an option too.


This is what it looked like when we decided to call it a day.  It was late anyway and storms were coming.


This is not our pond (we don't have one, yet, ha) but it's across the street on the way out and when I stopped at the mailbox to check the mail, I took this picture.  On first glance, we had an "oh crap" moment thinking this was a funnel cloud but thankfully it just turned out to be heavy rain.

Today though we are having some severe weather and a chance of funnel clouds IS in the forecast.

Hope you had a good weekend!